Why Is the Number 13 Considered Unlucky?
There are many explanations why the number 13 is considered unlucky. One is that it represents the number of persons present at the Last Supper.
At Jesus Christ’s last supper, there were thirteen people around the table, counting Christ and the twelve apostles. Some believe this is unlucky because one of those thirteen, Judas Iscariot, was the betrayer of Jesus Christ.
In Norse mythology, 12 gods were feasting when an uninvited 13th god, Loki, showed up and killed Balder, the favorite of the gods. Early Greek philosophers scorned 13 as an “imperfect” number.
Many people today would not have 13 persons at a dinner table. Some hotels don’t have a 13th floor—the count goes from 12 to 14. When the 13th of a month falls on a Friday, superstitious people consider it especially unlucky.
The end of the Mayan calendar’s 13th Baktun was superstitiously feared as a harbinger of the apocalyptic 2012 phenomenon.
Fear of the number 13 has a specifically recognized phobia, Triskaidekaphobia, a word coined in 1911. The superstitious sufferers of triskaidekaphobia try to avoid bad luck by keeping away from anything numbered or labeled thirteen.